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During a virtual presentation for The Common Good program, Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin suggested that the Democratic party should resort to gerrymandering in blue states like Illinois and New York to maintain its majority in the House in the 2022 midterms.
“Yes, there is a path to keeping the house, but we’re going to have to work for it,” she said. “We’re going to have to watch carefully what goes on with the rewriting of the districts across the country…We’re going to have to vigorously watch that process and ensure in particular that states that have control like New York and Illinois, are going to have to understand that they are going to do what the Republican states do. They’re going to creatively draw districts.”
As some Democratic lawmakers anticipate a red wave in 2022 that shifts the balance of power in Congress in favor of the GOP, Slotkin’s comments indicate that Democrats increasingly view gerrymandering as the surest path to retaining power.
In July, both the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the National Democratic Congressional Committee announced their fundraising numbers, showing the former outpacing the latter in the second quarter ahead of the 2022 midterms by almost ten million dollars.
Slotkin’s statement comes as Democrats attempt to turn southern states blue to gain more ground in the House, where the margin is razor-thin, as well as in the split Senate. However, many Republicans believe the Biden administration’s unpopular legislative priorities and legacy so far of inflation, immigration crisis, etc. will give them the competitive advantage to flip Congress in the fall.
Republicans only need a net gain of five seats in the House to reclaim the majority in 2022. While Republicans will control the redistricting of 43 percent of House seats, Democrats will control the redistricting of just 17 percent of seats.
In state level battles, the GOP walked away with many victories in 2020, protecting the legislative power needed to maneuver the redistricting map in favor of Republicans. The party kept each of the 59 Republican-held legislative majorities, flipped two chambers in New Hampshire, and added 148 new legislative seats across the country. Given its state successes and fundraising efforts, the GOP is well-positioned to recover its majority in the House.
Weary of lockdowns, progressive policies, and high cost-of-living, many voters also fled Democratic-dominated states in the last year, causing them to lose seats and electoral votes following the 2020 Census. Meanwhile, some Republican-controlled states gained seats, giving the party another leg up for the 2020 midterms.